[FOSDEM] warning about Belgian SIM cards

Wouter Verhelst wouter at fosdem.org
Fri Feb 3 21:05:06 CET 2017

On Fri, Feb 03, 2017 at 11:33:44AM +0100, Daniel Pocock wrote:
> In previous years, I've always bought a local SIM card as a backup in
> case I couldn't get onto the wonderful FOSDEM wifi and the SIM has
> always worked within 5 minutes.
> I bought one early this morning and it still isn't working yet after
> about 3 hours.  The shop and the customer service line have told me that
> they have to check all new accounts manually now because of "terrorism"
> and pressure from French authorities.  They told me to wait 24 hours
> before asking about it again.  For anybody only arriving in Brussels
> today and buying a SIM in the evening, it is not clear if it will really
> be activated over the weekend or only next week so you may just be
> wasting time and money.

I don't know about "pressure from French authorities", but there is
indeed a new law in Belgium now which requires that all prepaid SIM
cards are registered to a person, so that you can't have anonymous calls

The law has existed for quite a while now, and if you have an old SIM
card that isn't registered yet you do still have a few months to fix
that before it gets blocked. New cards bought as of january 1st must be
registered before they can be used, indeed.

Since this part of the law has only been active for just over a month
now, it's not completely unsurprising that the mobile companies don't
have their procedures fully optimized yet. While I'm sure that will be
fixed as time goes on, I understand that doesn't really help visitors...

> Apparently, you can still buy tobacco products here and consume them
> immediately and they will eventually kill you but thanks to the
> irrational fear of Muslims, you can't get immediate access to the
> Internet in Belgium.

This is not about an "irrational" fear of "Muslims", it's the rational
outcome of an actual event:


< ron> I mean, the main *practical* problem with C++, is there's like a dozen
       people in the world who think they really understand all of its rules,
       and pretty much all of them are just lying to themselves too.
 -- #debian-devel, OFTC, 2016-02-12

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